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The word "chalybeate" is derived from the Latin word for steel, chalybs, which follows from the Greek word χάλυψ khálups. Khálups is the singular form of Khálubes or Chalybes, who were a people living on Mount Ida in north Asia Minor and who were expert in iron working.
Early in the 17th century, chalybeate water was said to have health-giving properties and many people once promoted its qualities. Dudley North, 3rd Baron North, discovered the chalybeate spring at Tunbridge Wells in 1606. His eldest son's physician said the waters contained "vitriol" and the waters of Tunbridge Wells could cure:
the colic, the melancholy, and the vapours; it made the lean fat, the fat lean; it killed flat worms in the belly, loosened the clammy humours of the body, and dried the over-moist brain.
He also apparently said, in verse:
These waters youth in age renew
Strength to the weak and sickly add
Give the pale cheek a rosy hue
And cheerful spirits to the sad.
In 1689, a spring of ferruginous water rich in gas and tasting pleasantly was discovered by Count Lelio Piovene of Vicenza. Local residents called the water from this spring "Saint Anthony's miraculous water" believing it had therapeutic properties. This spring, known today as the Recoaro Spa, is located on the outskirts of Vicenza, in northeastern Italy.
John Radcliffe (1652–1714) discusses the benefits of various mineral waters in the chapter entitled "Of Chalybeat Waters" in his book Dr. Radcliffe's practical dispensatory : containing a complete body of prescriptions, fitted for all diseases, internal and external, digested under proper heads.
Anthony Relhan (c. 1715–1776), promoted the drinking of mineral waters and particularly water from the chalybeate spring in St Anne's Well Gardens, Hove and published A Short History of Brighthelmstone; with Remarks on its Air, an Analysis of its Waters, Particularly of an uncommon Mineral one, long discovered, though but lately used in 1761. This led to a substantial increase in public interest in drinking mineral water. The town of Enfield, New Hampshire, even changed its name temporarily to Relhan because of the profound public interest in this form of therapy.[failed verification]
Princess Victoria, later Queen Victoria, drank the waters every day during her stay in Tunbridge Wells in 1834. She and her mother, the Princess Victoria, Duchess of Kent, would pay a visit to the spring and then stroll along the Pantiles. The water contains a significant level of dissolved mineral salts, with iron and manganese contributing to its characteristic flavour.
The Spire Southampton Private Hospital in Chalybeate Close, Southampton, UK was formerly known as The Chalybeate Hospital until 2007.
Content of the chalybeate waters from Tunbridge Wells
An analysis in 1967 showed it to contain (parts per million):
- Iron(II) carbonate, FeCO3 25.3
- Manganese(II) carbonate, MnCO3 4.6
- Calcium sulfate, CaSO4 60.9
- Magnesium sulfate, MgSO4 13.4
- Magnesium chloride, MgCl2 7.8
- Sodium chloride, NaCl 57.2
- Potassium chloride, KCl 7.3
Notable chalybeate springs
Chalybeate springs are found in:
- Spa situated in a valley in the Ardennes mountain chain, some 35 km (22 mi) southeast of Liège, and 45 km (28 mi) southwest of Aachen whose name is known back to Roman times, when the location was called Aquae Spadanae.
- United Kingdom
- Alexandra Park in Hastings, East Sussex
- Balcombe, West Sussex
- Bermondsey Spa, south-east of the Tower of London. Around 1770 Thomas Keyse opened some tea gardens. With the discovery of a chalybeate spring the gardens became known as Bermondsey Spa. About 1784 Keyse received a licence to "provide in his garden musical entertainments" like those in the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. They were varied by occasional exhibitions of fireworks and the price of admission was one shilling.
- Chalice Well, Glastonbury
- Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
- Chalybeate Kennels near Ingleborough, North Yorkshire
- Dorton Spa in Buckinghamshire: said to contain four times the iron of Tunbridge Wells
- Gilsland Spa, Cumbria
- George Gap Spa, Great Fryup Dale, North Yorkshire
- The Gloucester Spa, Gloucester
- Griffydam, Leicestershire
- Hampstead, North London
- Harrogate, North Yorkshire
- Kedleston Hall near Quarndon, Derbyshire
- Kilburn, North London
- Lees, Greater Manchester
- Nill Well, between Yelling and Papworth Everard, Cambridgeshire
- The Red Well, Knapwell, Cambridgeshire
- Robin Hood Hills, Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire
- Royal Beulah Spa Upper Norwood, Surrey (now London Borough of Croydon)
- St. Ann's Well Gardens, Hove, East Sussex
- St. Blaise's Well, Bromley, London
- Seend, Wiltshire
- Somersham, Cambridgeshire
- Sandrock Spring, Blackgang, Isle of Wight – discovered 1811; buried in landslide in 1978
- Southwick, Northamptonshire
- Spa Well, Spittal, Northumberland
- Stamford, Lincolnshire
- Tunbridge Wells, Kent
- Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear – currently buried on Longsands beach
- Winteringham, North Lincolnshire
- The Saltcoats Mineral Well, The Holm Plantation, North Ayrshire.
- The Brow Well, Ruthwell - visited by the dying Robert Burns
- The Chapeltoun Burn source near Stewarton, East Ayrshire
- Fraserburgh, northeast Scotland
- Hartfell Spa, near Moffat, in the upper reaches of Annandale, Dumfries and Galloway
- Parson's Well, Drumoak, Aberdeenshire
- Euchan Glen, Sanquhar, Dumfries and Galloway
- Heavenly Aqua Well, West Linton, Scottish Borders
- Red Well, Whitehills, Aberdeenshire
- Queen Mary's Well, Berry Hill, Aberdeenshire
- United States
- Beersheba Springs, Grundy County, Tennessee
- Brandywine Springs, Wilmington, Delaware
- Brushton, New York, a village in Franklin County
- Chalybeate Springs, Lawrence County, Alabama
- Chalybeate Springs in Gadsden, Alabama
- Chalybeate Springs, Jeffersonville, Indiana; Resort and spa, 1800s, destroyed and buried by the Big Four Railroad in 1907
- Chalybeate, Kentucky
- Chalybeate Spring, Schooley's Mountain, Morris County, New Jersey; active resort and spa from the 1820s until the 1870s (spring source destroyed by road work in 1945)
- Chalybeate Springs, North Carolina
- Chalybeate spring and Chalybeate Springs Hotel near Bedford Springs in Bedford, Pennsylvania
- Licton Springs, Seattle, Washington
- Iron Springs, Manitou Springs, Colorado
- Saratoga Springs in Saratoga Springs, New York
- Sharon Springs, a village in Schoharie County, New York
- Spring Water Park in Williamston, South Carolina
- Sweet Chalybeate Springs, Allegheny County, Virginia
- Tahama Spring, Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Tinton Falls, Monmouth County, New Jersey; still active, but fenced off by the township
- The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Places named for chalybeate springs
Several places throughout the world have taken their name from similar springs, including:
- Chalybeate Springs, Alabama, Lawrence County
- Chalybeate, Mississippi
- Chalybeate Springs, Kentucky
- Chalybeate Springs, Georgia, Meriwether County
- Chalybeate Springs, North Carolina, Harnett County
- Chalybeate Springs, Virginia, Scott County
- Chalybeate Springs, Winnsboro, Wood County, Texas
- Hughes Springs, Cass County, Texas
- Sweet Chalybeate, Alleghany County, Virginia
- Chalybeate Spring Temple, Sharon Springs, New York
- Chalybeate Street, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales, United Kingdom
- Chalybeate Street (Ffynnon Goch), Aberaeron, Ceredigion, Wales
- "Definition of chalybeate". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 2014-10-23.
- "Definition of ferruginous". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
- Dr. Radcliffe's practical dispensatory : containing a complete body of prescriptions, fitted for all diseases, internal and external, digested under proper heads, Rivington, London 4th Ed. by Edward Strother 1721 Digital edition by the University and State Library Düsseldorf.
- Relhan, Anthony (1761). A Short History of Brighthelmston: With Remarks on Its Air, and an Analysis of its waters. Brighton: The Philanthropic Society.
- The Papers on The History of the Town of Enfield and New Hampshire in the Dartmouth College Library, collected by Nellie Pierce, 1988
- "Recoaro Spa Fonti di Recoaro". italyguide.com.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 755. .
- Malden, H. E., ed. (1912). "Parishes: Bermondsey". A History of the County of Surrey. 4. Archibald Constable. pp. 17–24.
- Baker, T. F. T.; Bolton, Diane K; Croot, Patricia E. C. (1989). "Kilburn, Edgware Road and Cricklewood". In Elrington, C. R. (ed.). Hampstead, Paddington. A History of the County of Middlesex. 9. Retrieved 2007-11-10.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 634. .
- Lysons, Daniel (1796). "Bromley". Counties of Herts, Essex & Kent. The Environs of London. 4. pp. 307–23. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
- "Chalybeate Springs". Weekly Gazette. October 30, 1880. p. 5.
- "Brighton, with Hove and Cliftonville". Kelly's Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex (Online transcription ed.). 1867. Archived from the original on 2012-05-04.